It’s not just the fresher, less traveled food that makes urban agriculture so important to people around the world today. We need greater sustainability practices in place too, which led to Sky Greens in Singapore walking away with the INDEX: Award 2015 in Denmark a couple weeks ago. Their self-powered hydroponic vertical farming system trumped more than 1100 competing entries from around the world.
The A-Go-Gro vertical agriculture system isn’t a dream concept that wooed product design judges. They’ve been growing local produce on Singaporean rooftops for years. Nor is it a new innovation for this urban farm – it has been used at Sky Greens as the sole farming system since it’s initial design in 2011. In 2012 during their startup phase they had 100 of these hydroponic growing racks producing lettuces and greens at their indoor farm in Lim Chu Kang, just 20 miles from Singapore’s skyscraper district. Today there are 1000 9-meter tall vertical towers turning out 800 kg of fresh food every day – using only the amount of energy needed to run one 60 watt lightbulb apiece.
Granted, Singapore is the perfect spot for greenhouse growing year around without the need for auxiliary lighting in the cold season. They’re blessed with ample sunshine and temperatures in the mid-80s most of the time, so Sky Farms energy needs are lower than many places on Earth. However, the now commercially available A-Go-Gro system is the only low carbon, hydraulically run hydroponic system in the world. It takes about half a liter a day of water to rotate the growing trays, and that water is contained within the system, cleaned and returned to maintain the crops through filtering. It’s a case of 21st century water wheel power paired with closed system farming.
There are other revolving indoor growing systems out there, but none of them are quite like this one. Here, Sky Urban Solutions’ has conquered the issues presented with cramming too many plants tightly around a central hub source of light. Yes, it takes up more space – but growing plants don’t stay short and neat, which causes plant damages and functionality problems in other moving system designs. And this one uses overhead and side lighting, rather than a single interior light source. Not to mention it being powered by water!
Jack Ng’s plans for retirement have long been becoming a farmer. His A-Go-Gro vertical farming system is the outcome of his search to make his future life as a farmer less labor-intensive and prone to the radical impacts Nature tosses willy nilly into the mix. It was developed as a collaboration project with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore in 2010, and has won Ng and the parent Sky Urban Solutions company a number of prestigious awards for innovation and sustainable design through the years.
Like any savvy person, Ng knows full well that success isn’t a destination, but an ongoing process. His new goals for Sky Greens is harvesting 2 tons of locally grown fresh produce daily. Keep on growin’, Jack! We commend you on your accomplishments to date, and wish you a boatload of fresh greens a day 🙂
Learn More: www.skygreens.com
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